August 27, 2015 | Quote
‘A Dangerous Cocktail’ is Brewing in Turkey
Just over one month after Turkey launched a two-front war against ISIS in northern Syria and the Kurdish PKK in Iraq, the country is facing violent blowback within its borders.
Clashes between Turkish security forces and insurgents in the country's southeast have reportedly escalated to the level of “urban warfare,” the Wall Street Journal reported recently, as PKK-linked youths dig “explosive-laden trenches” and carve out “autonomous zones” free from state control.
The unrest has been mounting steadily across the country since the Turkish military began striking PKK camps in northern Iraq on July 24, ending a two-year ceasefire with the terrorist organization.
Given the current trajectory of violence in Turkey, a Kurdish insurgency is not outside the realm of possibility, Dr. Jonathan Schanzer, vice president of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, told Business Insider.
However, the PKK remains open to talks and has little to gain from a full scale war that would only weaken them more at a time when they want to be projecting strength.
“The possibility that Turkey's Kurds are preparing for battle certainly bodes poorly for the country’s stability,” he said.”But the real danger here, in my view, is the combination of Kurdish unrest and the ISIS threat.”
“That is a dangerous cocktail I would want to watch,” he added.
“The longer this has persisted, the more difficult it has become for the Turks to crack down [on ISIS] because there is the risk of a counter strike, of blowback,” Jonathan Schanzer, a former counterterrorism analyst for the US Treasury Department, explained to Business Insider in November.
“You have a lot of people now that are invested in the business of extremism in Turkey,” Schanzer added. “If you start to challenge that, it raises significant questions of whether” the militants, their benefactors, and other war profiteers would tolerate the crackdown.”